3 Credit Hours
Watch enough science fiction movies and you'll notice a curious thing: black folks don't really exist in the future imagined by white people (except as nightmare!). For black diasporic peoples, the future is forbidden while the past remains perilous. As comedian Louis C K has commented, "Black people can't f*** with time machines." If C K is right, it would appear that the speculative future as well as the past are the exclusive domains of white privilege. The emergent literary and cultural aesthetic Afrofuturism offers a challenge to that conclusion. Focusing on the instersection between race and technology, Afrofuturism explores alternative futures imagined by black artists, it re-visions culture and blackness in present and future moments, and it allows us to revisit history with an eye towards alternate explanations of past conditions. Ultimately, Afrofuturism combines art, imagination, technology, theory, and Afrocentrism to conceive and render, through various mediums, multiple alternatives to a past, present, and future imposed on diasporic peoples by a restrictive white imagination. In this class, we will embark on a literary journey through time looking for ways that re-imaginings of black existence can allow us to reconsider the nature of blackness itself. Authors may include: Emily Rabateau, Nalo Hopkinson, George Schuyler, Octavia Butler, Sun Ra, Samuel Dalaney, Tracy K. Smith, and Victor LaValle. This course satisfies the Multcultural Literature distribution requirement and counts as a 600-level seminar. Prerequisite: GENG 513 or permission of the instructor.